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Vikings Trade Up To Grab Gerhart

Posted Apr 23, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -When Toby Gerhart got to college at Stanford he said he wanted to be like Adrian Peterson.

Now Gerhart will be playing with Peterson in the same backfield.

The Vikings traded up 11 spots in the second round to take Gerhart on Friday night, giving Peterson a powerful running mate in Minnesota.

``I remember when I first started college, Adrian Peterson was the man in college,'' Gerhart said. ``I remember saying I want to emulate my game after him. I want to be as good as he is. The opportunity to go there, to play with him, to learn under him and complement him is really a huge honor and a dream come true.''

From a productivity standpoint, Gerhart was right on par with Peterson's electric career at Oklahoma.

Gerhart was the runner-up to Alabama's Mark Ingram for the Heisman Trophy in the closest race in the history of the award. He rushed for 1,871 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for the Cardinal last season.

The Vikings paid a hefty price, giving Houston their second-round pick - No. 62 overall - and their third-round pick to move up and grab a replacement for Chester Taylor, who signed with division rival Chicago in the offseason.

``We felt that was a very important position to go get since we lost Chester,'' vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said.

Gerhart won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, leading the nation in yards rushing and touchdowns.

``You have to have two backs in this league,'' Spielman said. ``One back, regardless of how great that back is, to take a 16-game pounding and plus hopefully into the playoffs, it just wears and tears on a body. Everywhere I've been, we've always had two pretty good backs.

With their first pick in the second round, and the first pick of this draft, the Vikings grabbed Virginia cornerback Chris Cook.

Minnesota's secondary is anchored by one of the shortest cornerbacks in the business - 5-foot-9 veteran Antoine Winfield. With the 6-foot-2 Cook, they added some size to help cover the likes of Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings in the NFC North.

Cook led the Cavaliers with four interceptions last year, including one he returned 58 yards for a touchdown.

He will help bolster a secondary that was banged up last year. Cornerback Cedric Griffin tore the ACL in his left knee in the NFC title game in January and may not be back to 100 percent by the start of the season. Winfield also missed six games with a foot injury and will turn 33 in June.

``There's no such things as too many cornerbacks,'' coach Brad Childress said.

Cook missed missed 2008 because of academic issues. He also only managed to do seven reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Combine in February, the second-lowest total among defensive backs.

Cook said a shoulder injury hampered his performance on the bench, but he is fully healthy and ready to go now.

The Vikings used nearly all of their allotted seven minutes to make the pick, entertaining possibilities to trade down in the draft again. In the end, they stayed with the pick and bypassed Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen for the second day in a row to add Cook.

``When I watch those guys, a lot of them have an attitude about them that's like, 'You won't beat me on this play or the next play,''' Cook said. ``I feel like those are the type of guys that I need to be around.''

Minnesota traded the 30th overall pick late Thursday night to Detroit, moving down four spots in a deal that also allowed them to move up 28 spots in the fourth round and add a seventh-round pick.

One position that does not appear to be a priority is finding a quarterback of the future. Brett Favre has yet to tell the Vikings if he will return for a 20th NFL season and second in Minnesota.

Even if he does, as many expect, he will turn 41 in October. Despite Favre's reputation as the NFL's ultimate iron man, he is not the long-term answer at quarterback for the Vikings.

The Vikings also have veterans Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels on the roster, but neither has asserted himself as the heir apparent to Favre, whenever he does decide to walk away.

The Vikings could have drafted Clausen, the highly touted Irish quarterback who tumbled down the board, at No. 30. He was there again at No. 34, but the Vikings passed on him again before Carolina took him at No. 48.